Attorneys at Sette Law fully appreciate how our niche of Northern California beckons to tourists. But along with the increased traffic comes heightened risk of Petaluma automobile accidents. Our injury lawyers want to provide some information that’s intended to help our local families remain safe from a traffic death or injury.
Our attorneys are (sometimes painfully) aware of the sudden and costly shock that often accompanies a serious car accident. Our lawyers also know that the summer season calls an increased number of visitors to our beautiful region, drivers unfamiliar with the winding, rural roads that surround Petaluma. An accident, our attorneys observe, can happen anywhere, including on our peaceful city streets and country byways. And, whether it’s a slow speed crash or high speed on the 101, most people involved never anticipated a car accident.
Lawyers focused personal injury and accident cases know that many car crashes are preventable. A prime example, our injury lawyers say, is drinking and driving in Petaluma. Accident attorneys report that, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), DUI fatalities rose this year over last year and represent 28.9 percent of the state’s traffic deaths. This news is particularly concerning to our Petaluma accident lawyers because California is already the second ranked state (just behind Texas) for alcohol related deaths due to a car accident. Attorneys say that Alcoholalert.com attributes 34 percent of the state’s traffic related deaths to DUI drivers. This high number puts our personal injury attorneys on high alert, particularly since wine tasting attracts so many visitors to the Wine County and Petaluma.
Accident lawyers, however, know that local drivers add to the grim DUI statistics. In June of 2014 a drunk driver from our city killed a young mother and seriously injured her 8-year-old daughter. Our Petaluma injury lawyers say the driver was found guilty and sentenced to a five year prison term. And this June, another Petaluma man was arrested for an alleged DUI, sending the driver he hit to Queen of the Valley hospital with injuries due to the accident. Our attorneys know that drunk driving is a preventable. Accident lawyers say that options are available to keep drunk drivers off the road.
Of course, car crashes also happen because of distracted driving, yet another source of preventable accidents, according to our Petaluma personal injury attorneys. Who has not seen a motorist driving fast and chatting on his or her hand-held cell phone in Petaluma? Lawyers, of course, know this practice is illegal. Nonetheless, it’s all too common. Yet another growing and dangerous distraction is texting. Just a split second of looking at a phone screen can cause a potentially deadly car accident. Injury attorneys are frustrated by the lack of adherence to traffic laws that are simple to follow, yet so widely ignored. We know that, in retrospect, someone who caused a car crash due to distracted driving quickly realizes that no text or phone call is worth a car accident.
Injury lawyers deal with the painful aftermath of car crashes, whether from a preventable cause or sheer accident. Attorneys represent people who seek compensation for losses because of physical injury and attendant financial losses suffered because of a car accident. Our lawyers must establish four conditions to show a court that a driver’s “Negligence” caused our plaintiff’s accident injury. Lawyers explain that the principles of harm, breach, duty and causation are necessary elements in Negligence.
Let’s briefly look at each item that contributes to negligence in a car accident. Our attorneys define “harm” as injury that happened directly because of the accident; lawyers define “breach” as a failure of the potential defendant to act on the legal obligation of a driver; our injury attorneys say that duty includes the mandate that drivers follow traffic regulations and laws, and, finally, our Petaluma accident lawyers add that causation means a direct link between the accident and the injury. For a personal injury attorney to represent a car crash victim in court and fight for compensation for losses incurred due to the accident, all of these conditions must be verified.
Of course, once in a court of law, the defendant’s accident lawyer will work to protect his or her client. That means our plaintiff’s accident attorney must be confident about the details of the incident and often be able to call on expert witnesses to testify. For example, the personal injury attorney for the defense may claim that our plaintiff’s injury was pre-existing and caused by the car accident. Our injury lawyer may call, say, a physician to testify to the court why our client’s injury is due to the ‘negligence’ of the defendant – a ‘harm’ directly inflicted by the accident. Our attorney may be able to demonstrate there was a ‘breach’ because, for example, the defendant’s blood alcohol level was .08 at the scene of the accident. The attorney for our plaintiff might also counter that the defendant didn’t fulfill his ‘duty’ as a motorist because he was, say, speeding at the time of the Petaluma accident. Finally, our lawyer will then demonstrate the clear link of accident to injury and establish ‘causation.’
After an Accident in Petaluma
Personal injury lawyers at Sette Law counsel all car crash victims to follow some simple rules that can protect them after a Petaluma car accident. Attorneys urge all involved to get medical examination and treatment. Not only does this practice safeguard health, it also can protect people should their incident come to trial. Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers know that a defendant’s lawyer can allege an injury was pre-existing or happened after the accident. Our injury lawyers for the plaintiff trying to recover losses, is better supported if a medical report is available.
In addition, Petaluma accident attorneys suggest that accident victims keep verbal communication to a minimum, sharing only basic information such as contact information for insurance companies. Engaging in conversation or argument, according to our injury lawyers, can lead to problems later in court as we seek compensation for losses from the car accident.
Our attorneys in Petaluma are hoping for safe motoring for members of our community through increased awareness of the dangers of the road as summer is upon us.
Personal injury lawyers must specialize in liability law while also having broad general knowledge of law for clients in Petaluma. Our accident attorneys at Sette Law know that liability can apply over a wide spectrum of circumstances but that specific liability principles will apply in most cases. And, that liability can extend beyond the actual driver in the car accident.
Essentially, Petaluma personal injury attorneys are tasked with showing that a defendant bears responsibility for acting – or not acting – in a manner that resulted in harm to the defendant. If this principle is valid, Petaluma injury lawyers can justifiably ask for compensation on behalf of the defendant. Although this legal tenet may sound simple, our personal injury attorneys know that proving liability is often a high bar to reach and requires keen knowledge of the legal process and applicable precedents for our clients in Petaluma.
Personal injury lawyers will seek to establish certain facts within liability and accident law. Fundamental to the argument is a principle known as “The duty to Act.” Accident and injury lawyers seek to show that a plaintiff’s injuries directly resulted from the defendant’s failure to fulfill his or her duty in the Petaluma case. Personal injury attorneys, for example, may demonstrate that a defendant was driving at a very high rate of speed that resulted in a crash causing serious injury to our client in Petaluma. Injury lawyers for the defendant, conversely, will look for evidence the driver was not speeding – or that the plaintiff, in fact, failed to exercise duty of care.
While Petaluma accident attorneys compile evidence of a defendant’s liability, we may also look beyond the individual behind the wheel. For instance, we may discover the defendant was working – driving on behalf of an employer at the time of the accident in Petaluma. An injury lawyer then may choose to pursue ‘vicarious liability’ and include the employer in the lawsuit to recover losses. Often, personal injury lawyers ask a jury to consider shared responsibility for duty of care and to make a determination about the percentage of liability shared by both employer and driver in the Petaluma accident. Our attorneys explain that defendants can’t recover total damages from both parties but that percentages of liability will be determined.
Shared liability, however, is not assured according to our personal injury attorneys. If the driver caused the accident outside of working hours and was driving without permission of the employer, the employer would likely not be held liable for the accident in Petaluma.
Personal injury attorneys say that other individuals may also share liability for drivers who cause accidents in Petaluma. Lawyers explain that parents who allow reckless, inexperienced or unlicensed children to drive their vehicles can be held liable for an accident – just as can vehicle owners who loan cars to friends who subsequently have an accident. Injury attorneys can employ the principle of Negligent Entrustment in such cases.
Petaluma personal injury attorneys advise the car owners to be aware of these potential liability risks when letting others drive their vehicles. There’s a lot to lose!
Attorneys at Sette Law in know that proving liability in a car accident is no easy task. Car accident law is more complicated than it might first appear – even though people injured in an accident may be certain of the other driver’s negligence, according to our Petaluma personal injury attorneys. States generally govern accident law which is fairly consistent across the nation, including in Petaluma. Car accident attorneys are required to present evidence relevant to a set of four principles we’ll outline here.
The first is Cause, meaning your Petaluma personal injury lawyer must prove to the court that the car accident was directly responsible for injuries received in Petaluma. An Accident attorney representing the defendant may allege the injury is unrelated to the car crash. The plaintiff’s personal injury attorney can present medical evidence and expert testimony to support the victim’s case. Conversely, the Petaluma injury lawyer for the defendant could do the same. Consequently, it makes good sense for accident victims to engage a Petaluma car accident lawyer, rather than face the opposition’s lawyer in a court of law.
Your Petaluma injury lawyer will also seek to prove a Breach has been committed by the defendant. This means the other driver violated a law or acted irresponsibly - for example a plaintiff’s accident attorney may be able to prove the defendant was texting or talking on a cell phone at the time of the Petaluma car accident. Your attorney will carefully examine police reports and any evidence from you or witnesses to the accident in Petaluma. A personal injury lawyer may find the defendant had been driving under the influence or speeding – any number of negligent behaviors that may have contributed to your car accident.
Your attorney also has the job of proving that harm was done to you in the car accident. The lawyer for the defendant may allege you were not injured or an injury you have is unrelated to the car accident. Your attorney will establish facts for the court to prove that harm was done to you directly because of the Petaluma car accident.
Your lawyer essentially needs to highlight facts that establish the defendant was not in accordance with the last principle of Duty. This principle is fundamental to car accident law and dictates that it’s the responsibility of all motorists to drive safely and heed traffic laws. Your Petaluma injury attorney will highlight behavior such as speeding, distracted driving, intoxication and other behaviors that indicate the defendant violated his or her Duty, leading to the Petaluma car accident. Lawyers will access evidence, witness testimony and law enforcement data to demonstrate the defendant’s lack of performance of Duty.
Our Petaluma accident attorneys point out that victims can be a big help in supporting their case in court. Capturing evidence with photos or video at the scene of the car accident helps lawyers build your case. Cell phones make it easy to do this! And, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys urge people to keep their wits about them after a car accident. Our lawyers say that remaining calm and quiet is the best approach in the aftermath of a crash. Words said in anger or apologies made can come back to haunt victims after a car accident, leaving attorneys with a problem later in court.
Legal history in the United States speaks profoundly to the important work done by personal injury lawyers. Yes, our Petaluma injury lawyers are aware the legal specialty is the subject of ‘lawyer’ jokes and some derision, but in reality personal injury attorneys have been responsible for protecting untold thousands of people from harm. Our Petaluma injury lawyers at Sette Law are proud to be part of a practice that’s led to major changes on behalf of the general public, classes of plaintiffs and individuals who have been harmed because of negligence.
When people attempt to stand up to large corporate entities they often face a bank of injury attorneys ready to defend their clients at any cost. Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers know this can be a frightening and sometimes futile quest. The nuances of personal injury law are many – and there is no reason why the average person should understand the processes and strategies of lawsuits like our Petaluma personal injury attorneys do, after years of education and professional practice.
In the United States there are a few cases that make national headlines after personal injury attorneys won landmark cases against strong, well-funded opponents. Our Petaluma injury lawyers say that the 1980s launched decades of action against the makers of breast implants. Injury attorneys presented evidence that the materials used by Dow Corning in their silicone implants leaked, causing a range of diseases, including cancer. Launched in 1984, the class action suit produced a multibillion dollar settlement in 1998, protecting women across the nation and in Petaluma.
Personal injury lawyers also drove a lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. that was later made into a film starring Julia Roberts. The plaintiff in the real case was Erin Brockovich who won that case on behalf of communities impacted by the company’s practice of dumping chromium into well water. Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers report that Brockovich did not stop with PG&E but went on to file other personal injury lawsuits involving companies whose negligence harmed significant numbers of people.
For each of these high profile cases there are thousands of others that bring compensation and justice to people injured in the U.S. and in Petaluma. As personal injury lawyers at Sette law we take pride in our ability to help people recoup losses suffered because of the negligence of others.
An accident can sideline life for any individual in Petaluma. Personal injury lawyers can help people recover financially from an accident due to negligence. At Settle Law in Petaluma our injury attorneys are specialists in this niche of law that calls for us to follow relevant cases across the nation to help our clients in Petaluma.
Personal injury lawyers must be prepared to handle a wide range of cases with one important aspect in common: clients must have suffered an injury that was caused by negligence. As we practice this area of litigation, our Petaluma injury lawyers expect each case to be unique yet fall within the legal framework of tort law.
Our clients come to us having suffered financial losses due to the neglect of others – an individual, a company or institution – that’s caused harm to our client in Petaluma. Personal injury lawyers consider many aspects of harm, from financial to medical and emotional. There is public responsibility that requires all parties to adhere to Duty of Care – a legal principle in tort law that calls for attention to safety for all people in Petaluma. Injury attorneys explain the Duty of Care traces its history back to the early 20th century Industrial Revolution when end-users were no longer in personal touch with the makers of products.
According to our Petaluma personal injury lawyers, the principle evolved and, since then, has been tested in courts internationally, and in Petaluma. Injury attorneys study case precedent and monitor the outcome of personal injury lawsuits to best represent clients in Petaluma. Our injury lawyers are prepared for the broad spectrum of cases – from dog bites to injuries related to the recent recall of millions of cars for defects impacting drivers in Petaluma. Personal injury lawyers at Sette Law work to guide clients through the complicated process of winning fair restitution.
Petaluma car accident lawyers watch with great concern as the number of deaths due to auto defects in GM cars continues to increase. As of Sept. 24, the number of attributed deaths reached 21, up from the initial count of 13. Sette’s Petaluma accident attorneys are also aware of 467 injury claims made against GM, including those for brain injuries, amputations, burns, loss of sight and spinal cord injuries. In Petaluma, our car accident lawyers anticipate these numbers will rise as more injured parties step forward.
More Recalls impacting drivers in Petaluma
Personal injury attorneys express concern about the recent allegation that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) may have been less than vigilant in calling attention to certain GM defects. Our Petaluma car accident lawyers, like drivers throughout America, rely on the NHTSA for accurate assessments of automobile models. A recent Congressional report says the watchdog agency knew about a problem with ignition switches in some GM models in 2007 but did not issue a public alert. Our Petaluma personal injury attorneys say an agency official did write a report to its Office of Defects Investigation but the ODI declined to pursue the matter. It was only when GM announced the defect late in 2013 that NHTSA publically affirmed the defect, alerting car owners in the nation and in Petaluma. Car accident attorneys at Sette Law believe that earlier notification by NTSHA officials could have prevented accidents and saved lives.
Yet another red flag for Petaluma personal injury attorneys is NHTSA’s 5-Star rating of the Chevy Cruze shortly before the model was recalled by GM because of faulty airbags manufactured by the Takata Corp. According to Petaluma car accident lawyers, airbags deployed with such force, they shot metal shrapnel into the car – in at least one case, causing the driver to become blind in one eye. Furthermore, the airbags burst and failed to protect vehicle occupants. Takata is one of the world’s largest makers of automobile airbags and our Petaluma injury lawyers advise Chevy Cruze owners to immediately take their cars to a GM dealer for repair.
With at least 39 million GM models recalled, our Petaluma car accident lawyers believe the NHTSA must step up and perform its public service. The agency has enjoyed the trust of the car buying public for 44 years and it’s often the first place families look for information about purchasing a car in Petaluma. But car accident lawyers and the public must now demand increased accountability, given these recent events. Our personal injury attorneys note that, in its defense, NHTSA officials said GM embarked on a campaign to minimize problems – going so far as ordering the word “defect” to be stricken from some reports to the NHTSA. Clearly, these allegations must be cleared up in the interest of safety and trust for drivers in Petaluma.
Car Accident Lawyers watch Settlement Decision
GM has created a settlement program estimated at $600 million or more. Petaluma injury attorneys at Sette Law say this compensation program is meant to address injuries and fatalities related to the recall of models having defective switches that can shut down a vehicle’s engine, preventing power steering from working and airbags from deploying. But, personal injury lawyers at Sette Law note that GM mounts strong defense against claims in cases across the U.S. and in Petaluma.
Car accident lawyers are following a 2010 case in which a young woman was killed in a Chevy Cobalt. The family settled with the company prior to the model’s defective airbag being disclosed. Just months later the still-grieving parents learned of the recall and asked a judge to set aside the court’s settlement. They felt it was important to make GM publicly responsible for the death of their daughter. The judge agreed and the family will be able to sue GM in court – affecting future cases, including those in Petaluma.
Car accident lawyers also point to a case in a 2006 collision that claimed two lives. Again, the crash was related to an airbag defect. Lawyers for GM accepted liability for the driver of the vehicle but said GM was not responsible for the death of the passenger in the back seat – where there was no airbag. Our Petaluma personal injury attorneys find this approach is grossly unfair the family of these and other victims – and falls far short of inspiring public trust in the car maker’s motives.
Lawyers with Sette Law in Petaluma are closely monitoring the upsurge in recalls of automobiles over the past
year. The spotlight has been on GM’s
recalls involving a variety of defects, according to our Petaluma personal injury
attorneys. However, many of the problems have been traced to faulty
airbags and that issue can be complicated by other mechanical and design
problems. In Petaluma,
our injury lawyers are also concerned about the recall of the Routan
made by Volkswagen as well as Range Rover’s recall of five models spanning
2013-2014. Yet another recall by GM is the Chevy Cruze, with serious defects in
In some cases, our Petaluma car accident lawyers
point out, the issues involve other mechanisms that can cause airbags to
malfunction. For example, Volkswagen’s Routan is plagued by ignition switch
problems that are identified as the source of problems with brakes, airbags and
power steering. In Petaluma our personal injury attorneys also point to GM’s recall of 1.8
million SUVs due to airbags that could fail to deploy if car owners don’t pay
attention to an airbag warning light on the dashboard. SUVs are a very popular
choice for families in Petaluma and injury attorneys are urge owners to get the repairs made
immediately. If you purchased a GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, Chevy Traverse or
Buick Enclave in Petaluma, our car accident lawyers advise you to check GMs website for the
years included in the recall.
Lawyers Note Reluctant Recall
In this particular recall,
that began making headlines early this year, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys are
particularly concerned about GMs reticence to launch a full recall earlier. The
air bag problem had been known for many years but as late as March 13 of this
year, the company launched a customer satisfaction campaign aimed at drivers in
the U.S. and Petaluma.
Our injury lawyers note this non-urgent campaign did not acknowledge the
seriousness of the problem for car owners in Petaluma. Personal injury attorneys know that
such campaigns are more economical than recalls and are not done under the eye
of watch dog government agencies.
According to data from the
National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA), GM escalated the
problem to full recall status the next day, March 14 – right after notifying
the NHTSA of its “satisfaction campaign.” Our Petaluma injury attorneys suspect GMs reluctance
to deal with serious, life threatening issues for so many years (since at least
2008), indicates that drivers involved in related accidents may not make the
link between the car make and their experience. This, according to our Petaluma injury lawyers,
in an unfortunate result of corporate inaction and a lack of accountability.
For years, GM had been
handling the air bag issue with service bulletins, despite a significant rise
in calls to the company’s Technical Assistance Center and increased buy-backs
of the affected models in cities like Petaluma. Car accident lawyers are concerned
that crash victims in these years may be unaware their accident was caused by a
At Sette Law in Petaluma, injury attorneys
believe in public accountability and responsibility. That it took an influx of
new leadership at GM, plus congressional hearings and a national spotlight to
spur the company to action is not encouraging to car owners in Petaluma. Our personal injury
attorneys continue to follow the progression of cases involving victims
of GM airbag crashes. We are confident that, had the company stepped forward
with recalls of these serious defects years ago, countless accidents could have
been prevented throughout the nation and in Petaluma. Our car accident lawyers hope this
public scandal will serve as a lesson to car makers – life threatening
conditions demand a swift and substantial response.